Melissa Mark-Viverito made history last week when she was elected the City’s Council’s first Hispanic speaker. Don’t expect her to follow in her predecessors’ footsteps if she holds to her word, either.
Ms. Mark-Viverito declared yesterday that she wouldn’t run for mayor when her term expires in 2017–potentially becoming the first speaker ever to not seek Gracie Mansion.
“It’s not on my agenda,” said Ms. Mark-Viverito, responding to a question about mayoral ambitions from Diana Williams on Up Close yesterday. “Four years from now, I will not be able to run again. I am term-limited so there will be really very little room for anything locally, but that’s not something that’s in my vision right now.”
One problem for Ms. Mark-Viverito: Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t be term-limited in 2017 and would be expected to seek re-election. As a fellow Democrat and close ally of the mayor, it would seem unlikely that Ms. Mark-Viverito would challenge Mr. de Blasio in a primary. Mr. de Blasio will be term-limited in eight years and Ms. Mark-Viverito could hypothetically mount a bid for the mayoralty then, but if she doesn’t, she would be bucking the precedent set by her three predecessors who all tried–and failed–to win the mayor’s race.
Asked by Ms. Williams what Ms. Mark-Viverito, 44, wanted to do long-term, the East Harlem lawmaker said she did not know.
“I think I’ve been able to do pretty well in terms of being focused on the work at hand and other paths will open,” she said. “That’s not something I’m looking at right now and I want to be good at what I have. I have four years to be an extremely effective speaker. There’s a lot of responsibility that that entails. I know the Latino community is looking very strongly at my candidacy and I want to be successful.”